Why do so many homeowners have issues with their home owner association and board members? Probably because you’re voting in the wrong people who don’t have a clue what your community needs.
Homeowner associations are designed to be representative democracies governed by a board of directors elected by the members. Electing directors to the board that can thoughtfully govern is extremely important. To accomplish this, elections must be carefully planned with the candidates thoroughly researched, not hatched at the last minute.
Here are important components of a successful election process:
Find Worthy Candidates. When seeking nominations, a job description should be prepared so potential candidates know what is expected of them. Some refuse to run because they fear the unknown or an open-ended commitment. The director job and term of office can easily be summarized in a paragraph as can the descriptions of officer jobs (president, treasurer and secretary). Take the time to make sure all potential candidates understand and commit to fulfilling the job description by informing them of expectations in advance.
Candidates are identified a number of ways:
1. By a Nominating Committee. The board can appoint a Nominating Committee which can identify, interview and recommend certain individuals for election. While the Nominating Committee’s recommendations are worth considering, any member in good standing is still entitled to run for office even if not recommended by the Committee.
2. Nominated by Self or Others. Any member may nominate themselves or be nominated by another member. It’s best to do this as soon as the nomination process begins, far in advance of the annual meeting, so the name and credentials can be known to all members. Since it is common for some members not to attend the meeting and to provide a proxy to someone that does, if a candidate is not known in advance, those not attending the meeting will not have the ability to support that candidate.
3. Nominated at the Annual Meeting. Nominations are usually accepted from the floor at the annual meeting. Unfortunately, this option fails to inform members who have not attended the meeting; it is often difficult to get elected when nominated from the floor unless there are not enough candidates to fill vacancies.
4. Write-in Candidate. Writing someone’s name on a ballot does not ensure that person is actually qualified for the job or interested in running unless the person was nominated from the floor.
Candidate Qualifications. Candidates should present their qualifications and platforms to the members in writing. This can be done door to door, by email, by letter, in the HOA newsletter, by the HOA website and at the annual meeting where the candidates can also answer questions posed by owners. Since some members may not be able to attend the meeting, circulating candidate qualifications before the meeting is very important.
It is definitely in the community’s best interest to identify candidates who have experience that will benefit the HOA such as:
•Having an organized president is essential. Seek those that are comfortable in that role. The president should also have experience in dealing with different personalities.
•Having a treasurer who regularly works with financial matters like a bookkeeper or CPA.
•Having a secretary who understands or can learn the art of minute taking.
•Having directors that are available and committed to attend all board meetings. This requirement cannot be understated. If board meetings fail to achieve a quorum or directors, official business cannot be done.
Good board members act to protect the interests of all members. Handle the candidate selection process carefully by seeking out the best candidates available. When it comes to board elections, rather than expect a train wreck, elect the right person for the job!
About the Author: Millie Gil is a licensed Real Estate Broker and Vice President of Bold Real Estate Group. For more information please forward email to firstname.lastname@example.org